Is that a new purple pillow on the back of Ed the couch in the picture for the chat?
Yep! That is a new pillow (good eye!). It's from HomeGoods and we'll be sharing more about it this afternoon on our blog.
What are your thoughts on chalkboard paint? I've heard mixed reviews. Are there brands that work the best?
We think it's a great way to add some fun to a space. We haven't used it ourselves yet, so can't speak to one particular brand - though we were very happy with the Rustoleum brand magnetic paint that we used in our last house. Hopefully their chalkboard paint is equally good!
We have spent a few months painting and purchasing furniture, lamps and artwork for our living room. We have large windows that require some covering, but we are reluctant to lose the modern updates we were going for with floor to ceiling drapes. Any ideas?
I don't think simple floor to ceiling curtains would make your room seem less modern, especially if you choose some with a cool pattern. But, if you dont want curtain panels, you could go with simple shades or blinds.
Has your family ever asked you to not share things about them, or have you ever accidentally shared too much?
Great question. We are very mindful of the fact that our friends and family didn't sign up to have their lives blogged about like we did. So we do always try to get someone's permission before mentioning or showing them on our site. And we haven't upset anyone yet - so the system seems to be working out ok!
Do you think that you two having this blogging job is harder or easier than a traditional 9-5 M-F job? Would you ever go back to it? Would you consider childcare so you both could work on it full time?
We think anyone who owns and runs their own business would agree that it's hard work, so we both definitely admit that we're working more than we ever did at traditional jobs. But of course it comes with great perks too (like getting to watch our daughter grow up). And if the time comes to hang up our blogging hats, we certainly would consider going back to a regular 9-5 to "take a break." Haha.
How come you guys post less now - sometimes just once a day - when it used to be twice a day?
There just aren't enough hours in the day! We used to post lots of other "easier" content like Burning Questions (polls about general decor), Reader Redesigns (which are now over on Facebook), and a contest winner posts each week to keep our post numbers higher. But due to popular demand we returned to more "meaty" diary style posts about our own projects (which of course means we have to do more of them). So that explains the slight dip in post frequency. We like to think of it as quality over quantity, haha.
Are you enjoying your new neighborhood?
Very much so! Thanks for asking. It's especially nice now that it's warmer, things are blossoming and the neighbors are out in their yards.
How would you say YHL becoming so big has changed your lives? How has becoming a mini (or mega) celebrity changed you at all? Do you get recognized when you're at Target, Home Depot etc? How do you deal with this? Have you had any scares at all with crazy fans? How to you protect your own security?
We do get recognized at Target and Home Depot and Ikea on occasion and it has just made us awkward. Haha. We wish we were cooler but we're really spazzy and blushy in real life. Haha. As for security, we're pretty protective of our address, which we don't share. We also have an amazing home security system that rivals Fort Knox.
What tips would you give people trying to make their own personal blog successful? What has helped you?
We just think being yourself and being passionate has to be the key. Never start a blog to make money. We started ours for fun and I think that might have been the secret. Because all we do is have fun with our house and share the details. Haha. We didn't advertise or even solicit sponsors or things that that. They came to us after a while since we were so busy working on keeping the site fun and doing what we love!
Hi, great article about the DIY blog. John and Sherry, I noticed you painted your bedroom ceiling white. I've been advised to do the same thing. Should the white be the same color as the white trim? The wall color will be Duron Aloof Gray. The bedroom is fairly large and has good windows. What about for a smaller room? White ceiling still a good idea? I have a pretty modern/contemporary home. Thanks! I'll be following your blog - good luck!
We actually had a white ceiling in there to start with but wouldn't mind painting it down the line! We love how a halftone of the walls can look warm and inviting with crisp white trim and crown molding. But if white is what you like, going with something that matches the trim but is flat instead of semi-gloss always works. Good luck!
Love your blog! Love Burger! I get so many how to's from you all. I have a kitchen/great room that needs to be remdeled- however I think I need a vision for what the room can be - it is an integral room in the house-do I start with a architect, contractor or interior designer - and how do I find a reliable one
We always just ask people. Anyone really. We'll ask someone at the home improvement store if they know of any contractors or interior designers. Or neighbors. Or friends. We also hire people right out of the phone book, we just call a bunch of companies, get estimates, and go with the person who feels like the right fit (at the right price).
My living room & dining room are connected though there is an arch in between. I would love to paint them, but the problem is that we don't get a lot of natural light in either room. I'd love to do something kind of bland in the living room and more fun in the dining room. Any suggestions?
Well, I would start by changing your mind about doing "something kind of bland" in the living room. Im assuming you actually mean more of a neutral (which, actually, don't have to be bland). It's very difficult to give color suggestions without seeing your rooms or knowing what you already have in them. That said, based on what you've said, I would suggest a creamy off-white in the living room (classic and will go with anything) and a color that you love in the dining room.
How do John and Sherry factor in childproofing when making design decisions. As the mom of a very active two year old, it's something I struggle with!
Clara is definitely more important than the blog or the house! So her safety is number one and then comes form and function and all that jazz. Clara isn't very mobile yet, but we just plan to learn as we go and try to teach her things like "touch with one finger" and "look with your eyes." Who knows if it works, but we'd love to teach her how to live with things we love if we can. And if we can't we plan to troll stores and thrift shops for things that can be decorative and kid friendly, like a wooden bowl full of woven orbs instead of a glass vase full of flowers for the coffee table. Should be interesting...
I'd love to choose a cohesive color scheme for my home but I'm not sure of where to start and how to take it from the beginning to the end. Any suggestions?
Finding something that can serve as your inspiration point can be awesome! We found a napkin that we love with lots of colors that really speak to us, so we go back to the napkin when picking room colors to see if they relate back to each other like the tones in the napkin do. Good luck!
Do you know of any easy-to-use software programs that would help me conceptualize the design of my new home (I have a Mac)? I'm trying to figure out which pieces from my current life will fit, and what need to be sold or donated, and what I might need to purchase. The programs I've found seem to be geared towards professionals, and are quite pricey. I just want to avoid shipping things I won't be able to use in the new place.
Floorplanner.com is a free place to play with room arrangements. And you can make free mood boards on mydeco.com and polyvore.com, which are awesome for pinning down looks that you love with items you already have!
We need to update swag/jabot-topped silk draperies in the livingroom and diningroom. I prefer simpler panels on a higher rod (near crown molding), but there is a bay window that would require a lower height. Okay to do, or should all draperies in one room hang from the same height? Other advice?
I think that would be fine if you want to go with panels on the bay. Another thought: you could pair panels and shades on the other windows and just do shades on the bay. We'll post a story we did with window treatment expert Clair Schwab. She addresses a similar question in the story.
I happened upon your blog recently, and I'm obsessed. As a young adult who will soon own her first home, what are some small things I can do to decorate on a minimal budget?
It'll probably take John a while before he's ready to gut a 50's bathroom full of mortar and wire mesh. That nearly killed him! But I'd bet money he'll be excited to tackle something like that again in a few years. Just has to build up momentum. Haha.
John and Sherry - When you look back on all of your projects, is there anything you would never DIY a second time around? Melissa MacGregor
It'll probably take John a while before he's ready to gut a 50's bathroom full of mortar and wire mesh. That nearly killed him! But I'd bet money he'll be excited to tackle something like that again in a few years. Just has to build up momentum. Haha.
My dining room and kitchen are essentially one big room, thanks to the removal of a wall between the two rooms that happened before we bought this house. Should I decorate them as one room, or should I try to maintain them as separate spaces? I don't want to lose the feeling of a formal dining room. Thanks!
I would paint the walls all the same color, but distinguish between the two spaces with rugs and furniture.
What are your thoughts on having a rug on Pergo floors in a dining room (it's not a formal dining room, but a room in which we dine for every meal)? I'd like to protect the floors from a very drooly dog, but also wouldn't want to subject a rug to a toddler. Thoughts?
Jute and other natural fiber rugs can be awesome for that. They add warmth, protect floors, define spaces, and even hold up to dogs and babies (at least the 4 that we've owned). Check overstock.com for some great deals!
Do window blinds have to be the same color throughout the house? We have some wooden blinds that are brown and some that are white. These colors seem appropriate for the given room but look mismatched from the street.
Unless you are a perfectionist who must have everything matching inside and out, different colors - and window treatments - around the house are perfectly fine.
You guys have inspired me to "go green." Have you had any recent updates to your organic lifestyle, beauty or home related?
We have loved learning how to green up our lives! From making a rain barrel and a compost bin to greening up our yard with compost tea it has been a blast. Probably our latest green adventure has been cloth diapering. Which we love! There are so many changes, both big and small that anyone can make to make a difference!
We just finished painting our bedroom and cutting in took forever! Any suggestions on how to speed up the cutting in process??
We have a little 2" angled short handled brush from Sherwin Williams that I swear by. It cuts my time in half and my hand is really steady since it's so small. There's a post about it on our blog if you visit the Projects tab and scroll down to the painting category. Hope it helps!
Got any ideas when the meatier projects like kitchen and bath reno might begin?
We strongly believe in living in a house for a little while before doing anything major that you might want to think through a bit more. As for those, maybe around the 6 month mark (we've only been here 3 months, so we don't want to rush into anything).
Hi, Do you ever plan on doing Mood Boards again?
We'd love to! Maybe once our house is in a more settled place we can get back to those. And you can DIY some too for free on sites like polyvore.com and mydeco.com. Hope it helps!
I'm a huge fan! I live in a 1968 ranch, and your blog gives me hope that I can live well with good design on a small scale. What would entice you to drive down and redesign my family room...?!
Haha, sounds fun! We're kinda busy with our own house though. And Clara has about a two hour window before she gets crabby when we're on the road. Haha. But we definitely hope that our posts will give you some good ideas. We have lots planned for this house!
What do you recommend for whose taste changes annually (like me!)? My living room is beiges and reds with kilims, but I'm starting to like coastal style. I don't know how to incorporate all my different likes. I can't afford to redorate every year!
We have a post all about Decorating ADD on our Projects page (see that tab under the header). Then just scroll down to Decorating Lessons and you'll see that link. Hope it helps!
Do you ever see an end to this? I mean, once all of your rooms are "finished" what will you post about?
We're definitely happy to enjoy the present so we try not to freak out about where we'll be in five years. We never would have guessed we'd be here five years ago anyway, so projecting only works so well. Haha. But we do hope that we could find a backer and get a rental house or even a vacation house to fix up after this one comes to a close. But our last house took us 4.5 years so we're betting this one (which is bigger) might keep us busy for 6+!
We need to completely redo our shower in a very small master bathroom. It is a shower only, about 4.5-5 feet long in total. Due to space constraints, we have to have a sliding door. My husband suggsted replacing the door with a curtain - I thought he was crazy, but it's growing on me. I like the idea of being able to match a nice curtain to the rest of the decor and skip the door and the grimy slider rails altogether. Is this a reasonable solution? Anything I should keep in mind?
Replacing the sliding door with a curtain is a great solution, but if you feel hesitant about losing the door for any reason, you can still hang a curtain in front of it. just hang the bar or tension rod above the door and you have a pretty and easy solution.
You did a great job of distorting the houses you looked at to buy on your blog but did any of the sellers know it was their houses being talked about? Also, was the eventual buyer of your house a blog fan?
The people who bought our house has never heard of us and don't read our site now (at least that we know of). How funny is that? But the people we bought our new house from started reading our blog after we made an offer and they claim to love checking in on us. I thought it might be hard for them, but they say they love seeing us do all the work and getting to check out the changes! Haha.
I had the same dilemma with my windows, plus I wanted to maintain the beautiful view. I opted for dark brown solar roller shades with an appropriate valance. It is just right and I've gotten many compliments about how well it fits my less traditional decor. The dark brown color (almost black) allows you to see outside better than a light color.
thanks for sharing.
I have been looking for a purple or lavender throw or coverlet to use as a light blanket and have had no luck. I've tried the usual places--West Elm, Crate and Barrel, etc. Has anyone seen one in their shopping excursions? Thanks!
How about trying: the Company Store, Garnet Hill, LL bean, Overstock.com and department stores like Macy's (the Martha Stewart collection has great bedding options) and Bloomingdales.
Your readers are usually so supportive of your decisions, were you surprised by the negative feedback on the initial guestroom reveal? It seemed like you listened to some of the common concerns (the brown blanket!). Did you see things a little differently after numerous responses?
Haha, it's always tricky when you share things in progress. But since our entire blog has been about the 3.5+ year journey of our progress (and our rooms never really end up done, they just evolve and change) it means that people can react to things when they're half finished. We were sure to mention in that post that "nothing is in its final resting place, we're just tossing down what we have and still need x, y, and z" but people got really mad at the blanket. Haha.
But it had to go. They were right. I like to think with or without the feedback we would get to that point sometime. We were just tossing that room together in a week and sometimes things just have to "shake out" for a while until you get them just right. Once we brought in the mirror and the side table and the bench we knew we didn't need it, but I'm sure commenters were happy that we "listened" too! Thank goodness for little tweaks as you go!
Do you have a go-to color for whit cabinets? I am going to paint my natural maple cabinets white, and I have SS appliances and a cherry wood floor. Love the blog!
Benjamin Moore's Decorators White has always been a favorite!
This is so fun. I read your blog every day and love it, keep up the good work! My question: We want to knock the wall down between our dining room and kitchen, how do we know if it's a load bearing wall?
Usually you should look at the direction of your hardwood floors and if it's paralell to them (instead of perpendicular) it's a load bearing wall. You can also check the joists in the attic to see which way they run. We always recommend getting a few experts over for estimates. If you need them it'll only be $100 or so. And if you don't they'll give you info and encourage you to DIY it (this has actually been our experience, pros will actually suggest that you do something if it's to easy for them- haha). Just be sure you know the plan before you start. Safety first!
I love the look of your old home (beachy, neutrals) and I also love the colours of your new home. How do you incorporate both without making it seem wacky? I would love to have a gray bedroom, but what about the hallways and living spaces? Make them gray too? Is that too much? Balance is key, isn't it?
We have always been fans of just do things one step at a time and see how you like them. If you make a paint mistake, you're only out $20 and an afternoon. Just take things one day at a time and make subtle changes as you go. You'll be surprised how amazing and natural the evolution can feel if you take it slow!
Good Morning! My husband and I just purchased our first home - a three level '91 townhome with mostly white/cream carpeting except for the large kitchen/eat in area that has light (oak?) wood floors - AND we are expecting our first baby this summer. We are a few years out of college, but have yet to buy "adult" furniture, so we basically need a whole home's worth of stuff - a whole living room, a whole den/basement, eat-in kitchen/lounging area, dining room - everything really. What advice do you have for buying good looking furniture that will stand up to our baby? Plus, we might add a few more babies to the family in the next few years. Thanks and Happy St. Paddy's Day!
Congrats on the baby! For quality furniture at a good price, I would buy used. Check Craigslist, flea markets, thrift stores and local shops like Miss Pixies and Good Wood and local barn sales, like the ones we wrote about a few weeks ago, for older, used furniture that is priced well and will stand up to kids and the passing of time. You won't worry about the pieces getting knicked or scratched because that's already part of their charm.
Also check out YoungHouseLove.com for lots of great, affordable and stylish ideas on a budget.
John & Sherry: You guys are such an awesome inspiration. I love that you guys give regular folks like me the chance to realistically DIY. What would be the biggest mistake/biggest thing you would do over again in your DIY-Careers?
Honestly, we probably would have taken more risks when it came to decorating our first house. We're just having so much fun with our new house because we're stretching out of our comfort zone of white curtains and bamboo blinds and neutral and soft blue walls. It's amazing how alive your house can feel if you take a chance and aim for something "special."
Our current den will soon become a playroom for my twin boys. It has Oak hardwood floors and a muted kiwi green couch, which we cannot move elsewhere. Otherwise, it is a smallish room with a lot of light. There is one main wall (the others have large windows and one is closet doors.) This wall will have a white storage piece/desk. The problem is that the walls are currently an ugly beige. My husband thinks it's a waste to have plain white walls. Any ideas? Other colors that would work? (We want to maintain a sophisitcated flair to the room because of its location in the house, so we don't want a primary color theme or anything too kiddish.) Thanks!!
How about a cool, light blue or a light to medium gray? I think either would work with the couch and the storage piece.
What was the cost of setting up a website and the complete gut & remodel of your home? Being honest, you had to have the funds to buy, remodel and showcase your home, something the average homeowner cant afford to tackle.
We set up our website ourselves (John taught himself how to code). It was $7 to buy the url and we paid $30 a year to host it for the first two years we ran it (recently we had to switch to a pricey dedicated server, but it was worth it since it's now our full time job).
As for our house, it was insanely expensive because it was in such bad shape and Richmond is an affordbale market. The price started with a 1. As in it was well under 200,000. We expected to pay around 50K more than that for a house, so when we found our tired old home for much cheaper we decided to use the 50K we would have spent on a nice house and make it nice.
Of course we didn't have 50K saved up so we just did things slowly over 4.5 years and ended up spending about 25-30K for the entire reno. So not even the full 50K that we saved by buying a fixer upper. That cost includes all new windows, new floors, a new roof, a completely gutted kitchen and bathroom, etc.
Most people spend 35K on a kitchen makeover alone! We promise we're not rich. We're cheap and we love fixing up our house on a budget like all the other real people out there doing the same thing!
I want to spray paint all my frames white, I love the look, but what type of spray paint should I use? Glossy, flat?
Semi gloss or gloss usually holds up best. Hope it helps!
None of my rooms have anything on the walls because I can't pull the trigger on anything. How do you go about picking wall art?
Art is very personal, so you just have to start looking around and seeing what appeals and speaks to you.
Sherry, how did you discover the white ceramic animals? Also, when you two met, were you both already frugal and design-minded?
Probably four years ago my love of ceramic animals made itself known and I've been collecting a little white ceramic animal zoo ever since. Haha. As for when we met, we both liked design and creativity, but not so much in a house-focused sense. We worked in advertising and lived in NY, so we just liked all things visual, from the arts to movies and even painting canvases for John's wall. Our love of making our house a home grew when we got our first home. We never thought we'd end up doing that for a living. Total surprise!
How long after you started your blog did you start to notice increased outside readership (people other than family/friends)?
We always joke that we blogged to no one for about 100 posts. We used to just get zero comments and then slowly we'd get four, and then a few months later we'd get ten. It wasn't dramatic and there was nothing quick or easy about it, except for the fact that we loved what we were doing so that's why we stuck with it! It probably took us a good year to get regular outside readers who dropped in semi-frequently. Hope it helps!
I love YoungHouseLove and know way too much about your family. :) Since y'all have lived in two older houses now, have you given thought to having someone clean the air ducts out? We have a lot of dust in our house and have had many upper respiratory illnesses this year, so we are wondering if it might be worth the $425 to have the ducts cleaned.
We've never had it done but someone emailed me the other day and said it was awesome. She used a coupon or a flyer and it was $200. Maybe it's worth getting a few estimates and hunting down coupons to see if you'll love it? It has to help air quality a lot! You can also open windows and doors a lot and bring in plants as other air quality helping actions. Hope it helps!
I am transforming my formal dining room from traditional furnishings to modern. I purchased an oval table with and two side benches and armless chairs in a gray/beige microfiber. I have some beige leather arm chairs that I absolutely love and would like to add to the end of the table and take the armless ones away. It goods good to me but what do you think about the microfiber leather together or should I have the benches recovered?
The fabrics don't have to match, they just should be complimentary. The leather chairs sound like a nice idea.
John and Sherry, thanks for all the down to earth advice. I find that my style has changed a lot over the years, and continues to change. How do you recommend reconciling new style with old purchases when you can't afford to just start from scratch? What's the best way to achieve that other than things like new pillows, etc.? It can lead to design paralysis if I worry that within a year or so I'm going to want something different looking.
We never really start from scratch since we're such big fans of working with what you have! We just love playing around with things in different arrangements and pairings and even painting them or reupholstering them for new looks when we can. Of course sometimes you have to get rid of something or add something in to complete the vision, but working with some pieces you've always loved, even if you have to reimagine them, will give your rooms so much soul and depth. Good luck!
Is there a type of fabric/name for a fabric that is semi-sheer? Not as sheer as a sheer curtain and not as opaque as muslin. I am looking for something for a door curtain that will give some degree of privacy but still let in some light. If I knew the name of what I am looking for (assuming it exists) I might have better luck. Or maybe you have better ideas?
I would physically go to a fabric store, like Calico Corners, and see if you can find what you're looking for. Someone who works there could probably point you in the right direction.
Where do you go for inspiration?
I read lots of blogs and mags, but inspiration really can be everywhere! We found a cloth napkin at Crate & Barrel on clearance and we're basing our entire house color scheme on it. How random is that? We always just encourage people to notice what they love. Whether it's a postcard or a music video or a coffee shop, there might be color clues and other style ideas you can draw from it. Have fun!
I love the oversized glass vases/bottles in your house, especially the one in the hallway now. Any recommendations for good places to find some?
TJ Maxx and HomeGoods and Marshall's seem to have them on and off! Good luck.
Once you finish this home remodel, will you move again? You move at a rapid pace through your projects. NOt that the average house doesn't have a million things to be improved....but you guys are quick. Thanks for all your advice (the mattress post was especially timely!) House looks great!
Haha, it's funny that you think we're fast! It took us 4.5 years to "finish" (it's never really done is it?) our last house, and since this one is bigger we figure it'll take us at least 6+ years to get through it. But we're all about the journey as opposed to the destination, so it works for us. We just take one day at a time and learn as we go!
It will be at least 3 years before we remodel our kitchen in our weekend house. The room has brown cabinets, wood paneling, white and blue linoleum floor in the kitcen and blue indoo/outdoor for the other half of the room. I'm thinking of painting the cabinets a blue-grey or Marine blue? What do you recommend ?
Sounds like you have a lot of blue in those rooms already. You dont mention the color of your countertops, but what about painting the cabinets white or light gray?
What has been the coolest thing to happen thus far since the blog gained notoriety? Was it seeing your work showcased in some incredible publications or appearances (like the one on Nate Berkus' show!) or something else entirely?
Yeah, this article is pretty amazing. And Nate rocked our socks off too. I actually think that the coolest things that happen are comments and emails from real readers who have tried something and love it. Or who are thanking us for putting our lives out there every day. Those are the things that we think about in bed at night and say "how crazy is this life that we somehow fell into?"
We have 9-foot ceilings and worry about our 2-year old getting tangled up in the curtains in her room. Is it old fashioned or just outright odd to have the length of the curtains stop at the base of the window sill? We would only do this in her room.
No way! We love breezy and light curtains that just crazy the bottom of the sill. You can also try roman shades or blinds too!
Sherry, why don't you EVER wear your hair down? :)
Because I'm always painting or hammering something. Haha. Just kidding. I'm just a ponytail girl. Always have been. But it does help with Clara around since she tugs it when it's down.
I know you've said before that you save up for all your major purchases. How do you balance saving up for specific projects while still having money available should you come across an amazing deal? Do you set aside money for specific projects (like in a separate savings account) or do you just keep everything together in one big home design savings category?
We have one big savings account and I like to say we're savings-a-holics. So we squirrel away as much as we can towards a project or item we need and if anything comes up to interrupt that savings game (like a great deal) we just honestly evaluate how important it is and decide whether to deviate or not. Hope it helps!